Television

Times Television Network's operations affected by Kamala Mills compound fire

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MUMBAI: For Times Television staffers that were working the late night shift at Kamala Mills Compound in Mumbai, the night of 28 December 2017 was a bit of a nightmare. The conflagration that swept through restaurants 1 Above and Mojo Bistro and claimed 15 lives could have gutted the Times TV Network premises as well as Zoom’s offices, which were located on the first floor.

But luckily it impacted only parts of the office that cover almost 150,000 square feet. However, the smoke and heat forced night staff to leave their computer stations. Moreover, the flames damaged the uplinking facilities located on the premises, specially the cables that linked the playout that led to the dishes on the terrace of the building.

The net result: Times Now, ET Now, Mirror Now, Romedy Now, MNX, and Zoom and others went off air. And most distribution platforms carried an apology notice, in place of the live feed, which stated that the channel signals could not be received because of technical difficulties.

Sources within Times TV indicate that what could have caused further damage is the fact that the flames from above were threatening to pass down through the air conditioning ducts to the Zoom office and the firefighters turned their hoses spraying hundreds of gallons of water down the chutes that prevented any further damage due to the fire. However, a lot of equipment went kaput thanks to the water and the subsequent flooding, rendering the premises unfit for any activity. As a result, most of the staff is working from home.

Additionally, other sources claim that it was the quick action of Times TV engineering and technical staffers that helped rescue close to 150 guests in the restaurant above. “There was one exit, which was locked but our technical staff broke it open that allowed them to escape,” says a source. “However, not all could escape the ravaging fire and be rescued.”

Times Now, Mirror Now and ET Now restarted at 5:58 am following the shifting of the channel’s uplink to Essel Shyam in Noida and to Times TV Network’s Delhi studios.  Anchors such as Faye Dsouza flew overnight to the capital in order to be able to anchor shows from the studio there.

However, other services like Romedy Now, Movies Now, Zoom and MNX were yet to begin transmission as the servers were damaged during the fire and firefighting operations.

Other staffers have been moved to the fifth floor of the Times Tower, which is opposite the burnt out premises.

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